The current international crisis has set the emergency brakes on markets around the world, including our own. Without knowing how long the crisis will last, small businesses will probably bear the brunt of its impact. While larger firms might have the financial reserves to stay afloat through the storm, the disruption in cash flows may prove fatal to their smaller brethren. But even in these difficult times, there are various approaches to help your business survive — and even thrive — during this unprecedented time.
Use All Available Resources
Governmental and private organizations are stepping up to alleviate the strain on small businesses, and business owners should take advantage of every available resource to stay solvent. The first and most glaringly obvious are those provided by the newly passed CARES Act. Assess the US Senate Committee link, the information supplied by the US Treasury, and also examine the whole bill or this little business summary on Forbes. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program provides low-interest loans of around $2 million that will help small businesses shore up their balance sheets. Many states and municipalities also have instituted their own apps, and vigilant businesspeople can discover up-to-date information on their various governor’s websites. An assortment of financial institutions is also offering loans with lenient conditions to assist small businesses to survive in this period, and possibly willing to renegotiate present payment and repayment schedules if asked.
Creative Revenue Generation
Maintaining earnings during the crisis may call for temporary alterations to your priorities and merchandise offerings. For example: prioritizing gift cards even at a discount — can offer much-needed earnings while your physical places are closed or suffering from significantly reduced traffic. Delivery and curbside pickup services also can boost sales and supply assistance to people who need it most, such as those in quarantine and the elderly. Hire servers and salespeople who find themselves out of work as delivery drivers. If your business has a proven shipping policy, you need to think about waiving delivery charges for the duration of the emergency.
Taking good care of your employees throughout the crisis is also vital to ensuring that your business is ready for action when normalcy resumes. Simple measures like stepping up cleaning and hygiene policies can help keep your employees healthy, and, when possible, instituting paid sick leave guarantees that ill employees have the ability to stay home and prevent virus spread.
Using the Downtime Constructively
In cases where your organization is facing a temporary closure, encouraging as well as helping workers find additional sources of income is an exceptional way to help your visitors stay financially secure until they can return to work. Rather than focusing on your own doors being temporarily closed or earnings significantly reduced, try to see this catastrophe as a window of opportunity. Normally you rarely have enough opportunity to sit down and evaluate your procedures without constant interruption, let alone invent new approaches to enhance your workflows to optimize efficacy. Time to figure out that new accounting software, to increase your locations’ design — you may even have enough time to make upgrades to facilities and equipment that would be next to impossible during normal circumstances. The sudden change from physical to digital trade also provides both a challenge and an opportunity for small business owners. Now’s the time to concentrate on updating your IT infrastructure, improving your site’s functionality, and highlighting online customer services. And while these investments will pay off instantly in the form of greater online earnings, the authentic upside is that the dividends will continue to cover well into the future.
Communicating with Customers
With the majority of consumers staying in the home, for now, traffic on social networking platforms has improved greatly. This growth, and the corresponding reduction in in-store traffic, offers an interesting chance for small businesses. Not only is online advertising more important than ever, but every ad has the opportunity to be seen by more clients than ever before. Now’s the best time to concentrate on social networking marketing, fine-tuning advertising campaign strategies, and enhancing ad targeting to maximize yields.
Maintaining open lines of communication and ensuring customer satisfaction is also more crucial than ever, so it’s beneficial for you to concentrate on improving your business’s online customer care system. Clients will not soon forget the quality of support they received during the catastrophe. Providing excellent customer service might help convert disgruntled shoppers into life regulars. Investments in new employees or infrastructure to support online customer service will even pay off after the crisis has passed, which makes the downsides minimal. So while remaining in close contact with your clients and making them feel heard might not generate revenue directly, it is going to help solidify your client base and help contribute to revenue growth in the future.
Eventually, the entire world will go back to business as usual. Until then, it is crucial that small business owners utilize every tool in their toolbox to remain strong.